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Schwarzenegger Weighs in on Debt, Pensions, Budget

Oct 2, 2012

He’s largely stayed out of the public eye since he left office, but former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is hitting the talk show circuit to promote his new book. Schwarzenegger is downplaying the size of California’s debt, but sounding the alarm on pensions and the lack of a state budget reserve.

In an interview with NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Schwarzenegger was asked if he would have done anything differently as governor, given how deeply the state is in debt.

“It is really only $80 billion, so that’s not that much. I think California doesn't have a problem that it is so deep in debt; California has a problem that we have a tremendous unfunded liability of $400 billion of pensions, of public pensions," said the former governor.

He said state lawmakers aren’t bad people but have, quote – “an insatiable appetite for spending," and shouldn't have increased pension payouts when California was booming. Schwarzenegger also lamented the fact he couldn’t set up a “rainy day fund” before leaving office to reduce the state’s budget volatility. He says every governor has an ambitious list of goals, but sometimes politics gets in the way.